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Dallas County’s Public Health Experts Say Trick-or-Treating This Halloween Is Unsafe

Instead, the county’s public health committee recommends at-home parties and virtual costume contests

A group of kids in Halloween costumes approaches the door of a home, trick-or-treat buckets in hand
Try an at-home Halloween this year
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

With Halloween rapidly approaching, Dallas County’s public health committee has issued guidance on the types of activities that are safe this year as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

In a new set of guidelines released last week, trick-or-treating is placed squarely in the “unsafe” category of Halloween fun. According to the committee, typical trick-or-treating, where kids march door-to-door in adorable costumes, isn’t safe right now, especially now that Dallas County is back in the “stay at home, stay safe” alert level. “It is difficult to maintain proper physical distancing on porches and at front doors, and sharing food is risky whether reaching into a shared candy bowl or being given candy by hand,” the county’s guidance reads.

The Dallas County public health committee also advises against neighborhood “trunk or treat” events, outdoor events where kids can score candy from the trunks of parked cars, Halloween parties with people who aren’t in a person’s household, and trips to haunted houses. What is recommended, though, is a virtual Halloween 2020. Think virtual pumpkin carving competitions, spooky movie nights, and cooking a Halloween-themed dinner at home.

For those who insist on going out, the guidelines suggest that outdoor seating at “restaurants that comply with safety protocols such as universal masking [and] physical distancing between parties/tables” is a safer option than going to a bar or crowded Halloween party. Small outdoor gatherings of ten people or less are also an option, so long as everyone stays six feet apart and wears masks when in close contact.

Scope out Dallas County’s full Halloween guidance here.